Archive for Creative Prompts
My ferocious appetite for doodling kicked in about ten years ago when I worked in a cube. (Technically more of a triangle…) Doodling while sitting in on seemingly endless conference calls, my focus and recall was always better than if I sat there and just “paid attention.” My belief is that the benefits of doodling are similar to any other focused meditative practice; calming both to the mind and spirit.
Image courtesy of marianmachismo on Instagram.
Today’s creative prompt is going to be a little bit different. Are you ready?
If you are anything like me, and often travel the same route to get somewhere, you might occasionally notice a road that appears to lead somewhere interesting but isn’t able to be explored in that particular moment.
My challenge to you, is to take the time to go back to that location and take that road not yet travelled. Notice everything you can about the surroundings. Be playful and explore.
The when you get home, take just a bit more time to write down a few words about your experience. What did you see? What new things did you discover? Is it a place you’d like to go back to, or one that you never wish to visit again?
Please feel free to comment with your experiences. We’d love to know what you find.
Who doesn’t love food? Whether individual ingredients, meals you’ve been served, or something you’ve cooked up on your own, today’s creative writing prompt encourages you to make lists of the foods you love. You can list favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs, or spices. Favorite brands of a particular food item, as well as the shops where you bought them may also be included.
(Avocados, white nectarines, red pears, cardamom ice cream, and uni are a few of my favorites.)
Food memories will inevitably prompt additional memories and may even trigger emotions. (Did I ever tell you the story about my friend whose grandfather was a butcher? Years after he’d passed away, they found a long forgotten package of his hot dogs at the bottom of a freezer. Did they eat them? You bet.)
If you’ve ever thought that writing would be beneficial to your overall health but didn’t know where to start, these various creative writing prompts are designed to help you open up to the page.
No judgments, just write.
Image courtesy of carrotta_yeon on Instagram
Claudia McGill is one of my favorite contemporary artists because it was her colorful and whimsical art that first inspired me to take risks in my own art. She works with a variety of mixed media; including acrylic paint, collage and clay. Something I didn’t know about Claudia is that she uses Rhodia tablets. When she first learned that I worked for Rhodia, she told me about a zine she had been working on which included a short story about a train ride to Pittsburgh and how the story was based on notes she’d taken in a small Rhodia pad during her trip.
To read the story, click on the first image and then keep clicking to move from one page to the next.
Who doesn’t love to receive a handwritten note in the mail? I know I do! My challenge to you this weekend is to write a simple letter to someone you think could benefit from a bright bit of human kindness in their mailbox.
Don’t know what to write? How about writing out your favorite poem- or maybe a recipe for you favorite chocolate chip cookie?
Image courtesy of S. Jane Mills – be sure to visit her blog, Sketches and Studies Art & Life by S. Jane Mills
It has been historically close to impossible for me to take a staycation without feeling like I *have* to do work but this past holiday weekend I think I did a pretty decent job of tuning out the world and just enjoying myself. I spent time puttering around the garden, reading, cooking delicious food, watching fireworks and contemplating life.
As I took several long walks around the surrounding neighborhoods, I noticed that things seemed very quiet and my assumption was that a lot of people were either on vacation or visiting with family and friends for the holiday.
This started me thinking about the types of vacations that people take. We didn’t travel much when I young girl, but I can distinctly remember two trips to the Jersey Shore- (Long before Snooki…) then in my mid to late teens, all I wanted to do was to go to Wildwood or Seaside Heights. Nowadays, I’d rather be in the woods or by a nice lake in the middle of nowhere. Nature, quiet, solitude. Ahh…
Today’s creative writing prompt centers around this:
Do you still frequent the same vacation destinations that you did when you were young?
Why or why not?
“We like lists because we don’t want to die.”
In a 2009 Spiegel interview with Umberto Eco, the Italian philosopher and novelist states “The list is the origin of culture.” And what does culture want? “To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.”
I’ve kept my own book of lists for over a decade by contributing several lists per year of material either relevant to the time or from memory of things past.
Do you keep a book of lists? If not, would you ever consider it?
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
- From “Warning” (1961) by Jenny Joseph
Did you know that the second line of this poem was the inspiration for the Red Hat Society? I once had a group of these vivacious ladies visit my art studio. This poem always makes me smile because I am a middle aged woman who just happens to love wearing purple. See below for a video of the author Jenny Joseph reciting this poem.
Do you have a favorite poem that makes you smile?
Captain’s log, stardate 2456771.500000: A logbook was originally a book for recording readings from a ship’s log and used to determine the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time.
determining the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time…
Isn’t that a sweet metaphor for keeping any kind of log book?
Different kinds of log books include:
- Travel milage
- Dietary intake
- Daily exercise
- Research experiments
- Weather tracking
- Health Maintenance
This site describes keeping a logbook for self-improvement patterns and describes a logbook as: A notebook where you log and probably describe and explain your activities while performing it. Not an agenda.
A few more helpful sites on logbook maintenance:
Keeping a Logbook at Aerogel.org
About a hundred years ago, after much teasing from my two older cousins that I couldn’t make a simple braid, my great aunt Evelyn sat me down on her bed with a bag of shoestring licorice and proceeded to teach me how to make a three strand braid. (Which I got to eat once completed.)
While I never held much interest in knitting or crocheting, I do enjoy using different weaving techniques like braiding, twining and knotless netting in my mixed media art projects and can never walk past a yarn shop without going in. Yesterday I happened upon the gigantic sale tables of yarn at a local store called Conversational Threads in Emmaus, PA where I bought myself several skeins of pretty colors that I thought I might eventually use when I make dream catchers.
After balling up the yarn this afternoon, I was curious how these three colors might look braided together. I decided that I wanted to do a 4 strand braid but needed a refresher – so I looked to YouTube for assistance and found the following video:
This isn’t the way I remembered making them but I thought I’d give it a try and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
This was made with a total of 12 strands loosely woven which resulted in the braid being flat and wide. While this was only an experiment, a braid like this could be used as a simple wrapped bracelet, necklace, belt, headband…
For all of the Dad’s out there – you’ll win super mega bonus points with your little girls if you learn to braid their hair like this.
When I first bought character actor Stephen Tobolowsky’s book “The Dangerous Animals Club” I didn’t initially realize that it was a memoir. (If you don’t know Stephen’s name, you probably know his face because he’s been in over 200 movies – from Mississippi Burning to Memento.) Each chapter is a separate story, (some quite amusing) yet there are larger interconnecting narratives that weave together from the book’s beginning to end. From the very first chapter I instantly recognized Stephen as a gifted storyteller and was more than happy to read about his various experiences -including many from his 30 years in the entertainment industry.
When reading a book such as this, I’m always intrigued by the authors ability to either recall or write detailed dialog. I have a million stories I could write about, but how does one remember exactly what so and so said? If one does not have the memory of an elephant and did not take explicitly detailed notes at the time of the event, does the author simply use artistic license and make things up? I’d be concerned that I’d receive a phone call from Great Aunt Hilde screaming at me something along the lines of, “I never said that you should buy the tuna, It’s always been the cod!”
If you’ve ever penned a short story using actual events from your life, how did you go about writing the character dialog? If not, we can each check out the advice offered at the links below.
Can You Make Up Dialogue In Memoirs Or Nonfiction Books? at Writer’s Relief
Writing a Memoir Like a Novel: Dialogue at This New Mountain
I received an e-mail the other day from Roy M. asking if I knew of any good calligraphy blogs. As I did not, I began to Google around. I found sites which featured eye candy like Gentian Osman’s at Drawing with a Squirrel, Schin Loong’s at Open Ink Stand, and Eliza Holliday’s at The Letterist.
A Place to Flourish offers the anticipations, experiences and reflections of a calligrapher.
But I really seemed to have struck the mother load when I found this post: 40 Fantastic Calligraphy Blogs which has links from calligraphy artists around the world - many who are are largely influenced by the cultures in which they live and work.
Does anyone else know of any good calligraphy blogs?
The image above is my own. That’s Rouge Hematite in a handmade folded pen.
Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are essentially handwritten scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas, etc.
These commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts, or facts they had learned and each book would be unique to its owners particular interests. They became significant in early modern Europe.
Per Wiki, commonplace books are not diaries nor travelogues, with which they can be contrasted: English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote the 1706 book A New Method of Making a Common Place Book, “in which techniques for entering proverbs, quotations, ideas, speeches were formulated. Locke gave specific advice on how to arrange material by subject and category, using such key topics as love, politics, or religion. Commonplace books, it must be stressed, are not journals, which are chronological and introspective.” – Nicholas A. Basbanes in “Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World”
And in the words of Jonathan Swift: “A common-place book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories;” and whereas, on the other hand, poets being liars by profession, ought to have good memories. To reconcile these, a book of this sort is in the nature of a supplemental memory; or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own by entering them there. For take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his.” —from “A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet”
Would you like to read more about commonplace books? Try these links:
How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book” at ThoughtCatalog
Commonplace Books at Harvard University Library
Little Rhodia pads are perfect for flip animation, don’t you think? The N° 10 is 2×3″ and the Nº 11 is 3×4″. The graph ruling helps the artist guide the drawing from one page to the next.
The first flip book appeared in September, 1868, when it was patented by John Barnes Linnett under the name kineograph (“moving picture”). A flip book is a book with a series of pictures that vary gradually from one page to the next, so that when the pages are turned rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change. (Per Wiki)
Want to make your own flip book? Instructions can be found on Wired how-to.
When is the last time you put pen to paper and wrote a letter to a friend? No friends to write to? How about a pen pal? Pen pals are people who regularly write to each other, most specifically via postal or “snail” mail.
These sites will help you to find people to write to all from over the world:
Image courtesy of aleks111. on Instagram.